The beginning of a New Year can be a transformative time for us. We acknowledge the highs and lows of the previous year, and keep them in mind when determining our goals for the year to come. How did we succeed, and how can we continue to do better? Oftentimes, the culmination of these ponderings manifests as resolutions.
Whether we stick to our resolutions beyond mid-January remains to be seen, but even just the act of creating these goals can be immensely helpful in determining our frame of mind going forward. Even if the year does not pan out exactly how we had hoped, setting intentions to work out more, journal daily, or regularly participate in some other act of self-improvement is still a worthwhile activity.
By now, many of us know that our resolutions might not last all that long, but they reflect a desire for bettering ourselves and getting the most out of our lives. Also, resolutions do not need to be enormous, all-encompassing changes to lifestyle in order to be valuable.
All of this is to say that resolutions are a fun way to prioritize what is important to us, as well as to live the most fulfilling life possible. There is a reason we participate in this tradition each year, after all. If this practice is so beneficial to us humans, why can’t our pets participate too?
Our dogs want to do what we do. From following us to each room of the house to eating what we eat, many of our canine companions are equal parts eager to please and eager to be included. So why not let them in on the New Year’s resolution fun? Okay, maybe they won’t be the ones setting their own resolutions, but by knowing your dog and what they enjoy, you can create intentions that will have their tails wagging all year.
Think about what makes your dog especially happy, as well as how their days could possibly be enhanced. Many of these resolutions will be a simultaneous effort on the part of both you and your dog, meaning that your resolution to spend more time together will be checked off easily.
Without further ado, here are some of our absolute favorite New Year’s resolutions for your dog (and you, but mostly your dog).
Take Their Space to the Next Level
In the New Year, many people try to make the most of their space. Perhaps they have new pieces of furniture or decor to install after receiving them for the holidays, or maybe they have taken advantage of the many sales during this time of year. January is often a time to hunker down and get in some serious redecorating.
This is especially true for people in colder climates, as they will inevitably be spending more time indoors as the winter progresses. As a result, it is important to make our homes as cozy and safe for our dogs as we can.
Chances are, you have somewhere in your home that you feel is entirely your own. Maybe it is your bedroom, somewhere that you can be entirely relaxed and comfortable. Our dogs also thrive when they have that kind of environment. Luckily, this is where convenient and comfy crates come in.
We all want our dogs to feel at ease in our homes, but providing them with a crate that is completely theirs sends an even more welcoming message. Dogs crave small spaces since they can see everything and feel totally secure. Crates are not only immensely helpful tools for humans, but they are perfect for dogs to feel completely at peace. In addition, crate training is generally a much more streamlined process than people realize.
Be sure to make their crate as warm and soft as possible to encourage them to use it as often as they want. Consider including a memory foam crate pad as well as blankets and your dog’s favorite toys.
Get More High-Quality Exercise
This is another resolution that applies to both humans and dogs. In fact, they can often go hand in hand with one another. Your furry friend loves to spend time with you, and they probably also can’t get enough of some fun exercise. These two activities can be easily combined to achieve the very best of both worlds for your dog. Going for more walks, runs, and even hikes with your dog is an excellent habit for both of you.
While dogs should not always be outside, they require a significant amount of time in natural environments to stay happy and healthy. Luckily, this is also similar to how humans operate. Being in nature makes us feel more peaceful, mindful, and free of stress. That is not even to mention that one of the most common human New Year’s resolutions is to get more exercise.
Bring your dog with you on your expeditions into the wide world. You will both be getting more exercise while also strengthening your bond together, and expanding your horizons. What’s not to like?
Invest Time in Important Relationships
You are probably your dog’s favorite person, and that means one thing. They love to be around you. Your canine companion wants to emulate what you do, and most importantly be right by your side while doing it. In short, they want to spend as much time with you as possible.
This might not always be possible with work, errands, and other human necessities, but it is crucial that we make time for our furry friends whenever possible. After all, they are always ready to make time for us. Our relationships with our dogs are one of the purest, wholesome ones we have.
Not only is it immensely beneficial for our pets to get to spend more time in our company, but spending time with our dogs helps us in too many ways to count. Being around pets helps us to be less stressed in our daily lives, as well as diminish feelings of loneliness, and increase our overall moods.
Being around our pets is mutually beneficial to both them and us. The only ones who might not be as excited about this prospect are all of the couches that are about to be completely covered in dog hair.
Cut Down on Treats
It is possible that this is a bit more of a resolution for pet parents than the pets themselves, but the point still stands. Diet and exercise are crucial considerations when it comes to your dog’s health. Between 25% to 35% of dogs are considered obese, and even more are above their recommended weight for their age and size.
If it were up to them, there would be absolutely no limit to the number of treats our dogs would consume. Thankfully, it is not up to them. Instead, we have to step in as pet parents to determine when they deserve a treat, and when they should wait to eat until their designated mealtime.
Treats do not have to be eliminated completely from their diet, but being a bit more stringent about what warrants a treat can go a long way. In addition, consider the type of treats you are giving to your dog. Many dog treats are high in carbs and calories, among other unnecessary additives. However, an all-natural alternative such as freeze-dried chicken treats is often beloved by our furry friends without carrying all of the unhealthy trimmings.
Become More Confident
This one is especially relevant for shelter dogs, or any dogs who could work on their shyness. If they have perhaps had a slightly less charmed life leading up until now, their past can do a number on their current confidence. As a result, we should show our dogs how loved they truly are. With affection, attention, and respecting their boundaries, we can help our dogs be the absolute best versions of themselves.
Make Some New Friends
Along with improving our dogs’ confidence, another worthy goal is to help them be more social. Whether these friends are of the human, canine, or possibly even feline variety, socialization is key to a dog’s mental wellbeing. Okay, we admit the friend probably will not be of the feline variety, but the point still stands.
Bringing your canine companion to the dog park is a wonderful way for both you and your dog to be more social. Be sure to watch your dog’s interactions, because it is always possible they will not get along with someone. However, chances are your pet will meet another dog who gets their tail wagging and desire to play activated.
In situations where we cannot fully meet our pets’ energy, dog play dates are an excellent option so that they can get exercise as well as socialize to their heart’s content. Going to a dog park also helps pet parents to meet other like-minded individuals, which can be a very welcomed bonus, especially when we are looking to meet new people.
Explore the Surrounding World
Going on a walk is all well and good, but we all have to switch it up every now and again. Rather than always taking your dog on the same exact route, stopping in the same places, and turning around at precisely the same moment, exploring a different part of town can help keep both you and your dog interested. All of the new sights, smells, and people will fascinate your dog, and you may get to know a new part of your town that you were never even aware of.
Focus on Hygiene
This is a resolution that will probably not come particularly easily to most dogs, but that does not mean it isn’t an important one. Chances are, your dog is not going to walk themselves into the bath anytime soon, but on occasions that they couldn’t help but roll around in the mud, a wash might be more than necessary. Your dog’s great time should not have to be at the expense of getting dirt on everything you own.
This will not be a hard one for the vast majority of dogs, but it is still an important reminder. Curiosity is one of our dogs’ most endearing traits, even if it can occasionally get them into trouble. Their desire to explore, see, and, most importantly, sniff the world helps to keep them full of life and energy.
Learn New Tricks
We all want to learn something different in the New Year. For humans perhaps it is a new language or learning how to play an instrument, or picking up a hobby. Meanwhile, for dogs, being taught new tricks is a fun and rewarding endeavor. If your dog already knows how to sit, extend that to teaching them to lie down, or perhaps roll over. This will keep them mentally engaged as well as grow your trust together as a pair.
Become a Better Listener
It's no secret that sometimes dogs get stuck in a world of their own. Whether they are staring down a squirrel who dared to step on the lawn or just fantasizing about getting food in an hour, they do not always make for the best listeners. This can be mildly unpleasant or embarrassing when trying to show off a brand new trick to friends and family, but it has the potential to be much more harmful in other situations.
It is integral that your dog responds to their name to keep them out of harm’s way. Spend some more time really doubling down on making sure they are always responsive. Be ready to dole out a fair amount of positive reinforcement, and know what makes your dog ready to listen.
Making This the Best Year Ever
With your dog by your side, this coming year is sure to be a fun one. Spend time together walking, learning, and exploring. If you work alongside them to put both of your resolutions into being, then your bond will be stronger than ever.
The Diggs Team
We believe our dogs deserve safer, better designed pet products.
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